Saturday, January 26, 2008

Raspberry Jelly (Swiss) Roll Cake

I have had a fascination for anything sweet, and especially cakes right from when I was a kid! And I had this extra-special affection for swiss rolls, those colorful, spiral cakes that tasted like heaven, and even with the minimal frosting and decoration, they always attracted the attention of dessert-lovers, including me!! I harbor this fascination even today, and the first thing I notice in a pastry shop has to be a swiss roll cake (my hubby can vouch for it:)) Swiss roll is a type of sponge cake baked in a very shallow rectangular baking tray, and then filled, rolled up, and served in circular slices. So did these beauties originate from Swiss?? Not really; although the origins of this cake are unclear, wikipedia says that these are certainly not widely eaten in Switzerland, where they are known as "Biscuitrolle" or "Roulade" . Every country has it's own version, and it is popular in US as the Jelly Roll. It finds a place at many christmas dinner tables shaped like a Yule Log, but for me, it will always be my favorite kind of cake. Here's a simple Raspberry Swiss Roll recipe, but you can use a lot of variations for the filling.

This cake is not too much about the recipe as it is about the technique. Some people think it is really hard to make, but on the contrary, I'd like to say that though it looks tough, and does need a little more work than just popping your cake into the oven, it's simpler and more fun, especially as you can allow your kids to do the filling; and as it's almost always covered with frosting or sugar dusting, the flaws are easy to hide:) If you are still nervous, these two videos at Epicurious and About could prove helpful. I followed the recipe and technique on About, as it was more simple, and easier to roll out too. The only change I did was that I refrigerated the rolled cake (before the filling) for an hour. This gave it a firmer texture so it was easier to spread the filling and cut into pieces while serving.

Recipe Ingredients
3 eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup water
1 tspn vanilla
3/4 cup all-purpose
1 tspn baking powder
1/4 tspn salt
Powdered Confectioner's sugar - for dusting
2/3 cup spreadable raspberry jelly/jam (or any other filling of your choice)

Heat oven to 375 deg F. Line a baking pan, preferably (15 × 10 × 1) inches, with cooking parchment paper or aluminum foil. Spray with non-stick cooking spray.

Beat eggs in small bowl with electric mixer on high speed for about 5 minutes or until very thick and lemon colored. Gradually beat in the granulated sugar. Beat in water and vanilla on low speed. Finally add the flour, baking powder and salt, beating just until batter is smooth. Pour into the prepared pan, spreading out well to form a thin even layer.

Bake for 12 to 15 minutes (NOT MORE) until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Spread a clean kitchen towel on the platform and sprinkle some powdered sugar on it. Now loosen the edges of the cake, then turn the whole pan upside down upon the towel. Carefully remove the paper from the top. Trim off the hard edges of the cake, and while its hot, carefully roll cake lengthwise from one end to the other. Keep the roll as tight as possible, but apply very little pressure so as not to crack the cake a lot. A few cracks are normal, so don't worry. it is going to be covered with frosting later! Now refrigerate the rolled cake for 40 mins to an hour. (This was the only change I made from the About recipe video)

Remove the cake from fridge and unroll it gently and remove the towel. Beat the raspberry jelly/jam slightly to soften; it's better to use a spreadable jelly. Now spread it evenly over the cake. Do NOT use a lot of jelly as it would ooze out of the cake once you finish rolling it up again.

Now again roll up the cake, which should be fairly easier this time. If you are not ready to serve, place it in the fridge again, so it becomes a bit harder and easier to slice. When ready to serve, place it on a serving dish, with the seams facing down. Sprinkle generously with confectioners sugar, making sure you cover all the flaked ends or cracks and edges that you incurred while rolling it up. You can even cover the whole cake with chocolate icing or any other frosting. Gently slice at a 30deg angle to form beautiful raspberry swiss rolls.

These are my favorites, and I hope you enjoy these delicious dessert cakes too!

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